After two decades of dealing with technology, one thing that has struck me as interestingly ironic, is how Microsoft has waded into the various markets. Often too early for mass acceptance, often too late to gain a lead.
Examples of "too early" are easy to find: WebTV, Passport, and Tablets. Examples of too late are also aplenty: Zune, Search, Cloud Apps. Maybe I shouldn't say "too late", but rather, and more appropriate: simply "late". Zune may be a candidate for retaining the former however, possibly Bing as well. Cloud Apps however may prove to be a winner for them, but it's still too early (pardon the pun) to know for sure.
I suppose the operative word for the Redmond evil empire would be "bad timing". I do have to say that overall, they've timed most things correctly. Its just that the projects that missed the mark happened to be the one where they spent considerable time and funding to market heavily. Sinofsky is probably the saving grace for them, as it pertains to keeping quiet. If only they could shut up until the debut moment, but that would be too Apple-ish of them.